There is a movement raving at the moment, the Safe Routes to School (SRTS) is designed to make walking or biking to and from school easier and safer for students. The SRTS programs have been implemented in countries like the U.S. and Canada with a range of initiatives designed for each county, individual school, school district and city. These initiatives usually comprise improving curb extension and sidewalk, installing solar led street light, beacons and school zone signs, upgrading crosswalk, etc.
Nowadays, programs like these are becoming more vital as research has shown that about two-thirds of drivers over speed in the 30 minutes before and after school closes. Even where there are school zone speeds, reports have still shown that close to 21,000 students get injured every year. So statistics such as these should have cities or districts focus on funding programs like SRTS.
Incorporating Solar Led Street Light into SRTS plans
It may be argued that most children go and come back from school during the daytime so why should lighting be important in SRTS plans. However, a closer look will show that it is not true. During winter, there are times when students come back from school when it is already dark. At the same time, we have after-school curricular activities, which include concerts, sporting events, among others that take place after sunset that necessitate students go home after dark.
So providing functional and dependable solar led street light outside the school premises and along the school routes can contribute immensely to the security and safety of the students. Ensuring a good level of visibility in the drop-off or pickup zones can prevent issues like assault and other security threats.
Preparing your Safe Routes to School plan
It is essential that every stakeholder such as the police, local government, PTA, and the school are adequately represented and consulted when making the plan. Get everyone on the same page regarding the aims and goals of the plan, what will be included in the plan such as bike lanes, solar led street light, sidewalk placements, cross guard training programs, increasing enforcement in school zones, etc.
The planning committee may choose to add or remove a part of the plan based on the order of priority. They may opt for a solar led street light ahead of conventional street light due to its low maintenance cost and easy installation along with its durability. Adequate lighting is vital to reduce poor pedestrian visibility as well as provide lighting at the mid-block crosswalk, intersections, along pathways that are used often by the students. It is can serve the parking lots in the school, school properties used often at night. Street lighting provides a sense of safety among the students when they are walking at sundown.
Factors to consider when choosing to light for the school zone
- Type of lighting
For intersection, you may opt for wired lighting if there is a wiring system already in place as this option will need little long-term maintenance. However, for mid-block sections, a solar led street light is a more practical option as the connection to the grid is not readily available without the added cost of trenching to add wires. These added expenses can be avoided totally by opting for off-grid solar lighting. Additionally, the price of solar led street light is reducing, making it a cost-effective option like never before. If the light is installed properly then you can be assured of dependable and efficient lighting with low maintenance costs and zero monthly electrical bills.
- Lighting placement
Light needs to be properly placed for it to effectively serve its purpose. Proper light placement ensures that there is adequate coverage of the intended area and not intruding into private space.
- Maintenance and Installation
It is important to opt for a cost-effective lighting option, one that is easy and affordable to install and maintain. Cost comparison between traditional electrical street light and a solar led street light will point you in the right direction when making your decision. Solar street lights typically require little maintenance compared to the traditional street light. A solar light battery can last between 3-5 years before needing replacement, a solar led lamp can last 10 years and the solar panel can last up to 20 years, which means so little on replacement part compared to a traditional street light that needs replacement now and then.
SRTS can provide necessary funds for school lighting costs as SRTS funding is under a federal program of the government, which takes care of a diverse range of active transportation programs.
After exploring the option of incorporating solar led street light into SRTS programs, the features of a solar light make it a good candidate to fill for school lighting projects. That is because it is a renewable source of lighting with little maintenance cost and easy installation as well as off-grid capability. Solar Street light can be a cost-effective option for safe routes to school initiative.